7 - 29 June 2013
We are pleased to present Zoo, Charlie Whisker’s first solo exhibition at Peppercanister Gallery. This show will see the coming together of a new body of work inspired by the artist’s unique life experiences. Whisker grew up in Bangor, Northern Ireland, and although he had an idyllic childhood, he was later exposed to the devastation of the Troubles. Whisker admits that the violence carried out in the North, as well as other extreme situations he encountered in areas such as Chernobyl, have stayed with him and continue to impact on his artwork to this day. Sweet and sour images tend to litter Whisker’s work, the tragic and the joyful. He likes to involve the viewer, giving them a forensic type scene to piece together in their heads. Whisker’s paintings convey a feeling of brave intensity, combining stark graphics and a cool light with an occasional burst of colour.
In these new paintings Whisker has experimented with a variety of life forms which are both peculiar yet ordinary. Chickens peck through debris on a seemingly stark farmyard, a blind dog navigates its way through the streets of Belarus, a forest gateway invites the viewer into a realm of unknown possibility. Even when tackling the more traditional imagery of a bunch of flowers in a vase, his bloom of choice is the Amaranthine, a mythological flower which lives eternally. Nothing is as it seems on Whisker’s canvas. His paintings may portray seemingly straightforward images of farm animals or foliage, but there is a depth and meaning to each work that acts as a lens into Whisker’s qualified mind. His scenes are forensic in nature and contain the remnants of the people that they represent. The viewer becomes this individual, left to observe and contemplate the impact of their actions on the world and its people.
A constant throughout all of Whisker’s canvases is the inclusion of a burnt out match. A signature of sorts, it symbolises the transience of life and is a fitting trademark for an artist of such experience and sensitivity.
The exhibition will be formally opened by Gavin Friday.